Villas-Boas hails Lampard contribution


Andre Villas-Boas has dismissed recent stories that Frank Lampard could leave Chelsea as mere speculation, but says he understands any player's desire to feature in every game.

The 33-year-old midfielder has started and scored in both games so far in 2012, and the Blues boss insists that Lampard will have plenty of chance to continue that involvement.

"Frank is our player and he is not available at any price," said Villas-Boas. "A recent story came from the Manchester newspapers and it was very speculative.

"My relationship with Frank is good, fantastic, and we see each other and we speak every day. He is not in and out the team on rotation. There is no such thing.

"We decide on an 11 that is strong for every game and an 11 that can help us in the strategy to try to win the game. Frank has been decisive in these last two games, always with his great timing of arrival in the box."

During December Lampard began four of Chelsea's seven matches on the bench but was restored to the starting line up against Wolves where he scored the late winner in a 2-1 victory at Molineux.

Another last-gasp goal against Portsmouth completed a comfortable 4-0 FA Cup third round victory, moving Lampard level with Daniel Sturridge as the club's top goalscorer on 10 goals.

"Every player wants to find his consistency of playing time," added Villas-Boas. "Every player wants to play every time and there were recent words from [Florent] Malouda that he is not happy on the bench because it is normal that everybody wants to be involved.

"For Frank and the player that he is and the history that he represents, he also wants to be involved every time but everybody is competing for a place.

"He started against Liverpool, Man United and Arsenal, and Valencia away with tremendous success. His talent and his abilities are never in doubt.

"We decide strategically every game what is best for the team. Players have different characteristics.

"Frank is the fifth or sixth most used player in Chelsea this season and of the players ahead of him, one is a goalkeeper and another is John Terry."

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